Welsh rocker Chez Kane’s first solo album has been a long time coming. She has been fronting Kane’d with her sisters Steph and Stacey for over a decade before being approached by Crazy Lixx’s Danny Rexon in 2019 about a project he was working on.
COVID-19, of course, has intervened to get in the way and delay everything from writing to recording, but finally this corker of an old fashioned Rock album is ready to see the light.
Chez Kane – Chez Kane (Frontiers Music Srl)
Release Date: 12 March 2021
Words: Ian Sutherland
Rexon’s vision was in his words: “There are tons of bands in the Melodic Rock genre, but I feel like we are missing that great female solo artist singing Hard Rock. So, the mission was clear to me from day one: Give the fans a female rocker that will remind them of the powerful Rock anthems of the past.”
In the hugely vocally talented Chez he has found the perfect foil for this endeavour. In an interview with MetalTalk in April 2020 she said “I have always been a fan of a style of music, maybe the best way to describe it is like melodic Rock from the late eighties and early nineties, Lee Aaron, Vixen, Robin Beck, that kind of thing.”
These are definitely two artists singing from the same hymn sheet and it shows.
The mission statement is there and this album is aimed squarely at a particular section of the history of Rock music. This is supposed to sound like it was recorded in 1989 and be full of the sort of tunes American Rock radio was looking for before grunge changed the landscape completely.
On that front it is a total and utter success.
The overall sound is compressed and slightly keyboard heavy. There is some tremendous guitarwork in places but it is all about adding colours and textures and soaring, melodic solos. It is all meant to showcase two things in particular, songs focused on memorable hooks and singalong choruses and the strong, rich, soaring vocals of the lady on the cover.
Opening track ‘Better Than Love’ sets the tone, with space at the start to let you hear Kane’s clear, breathy tones before a driving beat comes in and she shows the strength to rise over the instruments behind her voice effortlessly. The addition of some saxophone is unexpected and very effective in adding some different flavours to the sound.
‘All Of It’ has a big eighties Def Leppard kind of chorus, ‘Get It On’ lets the guitars get riffing a bit but not at the expense of those essential melodies, while ‘Too Late For Love’ is a real ear worm of a tune you will not forget in a hurry.
‘Defender Of The Heart’ is as close as the album gets to power ballad territory with some echoes of late eighties Heart in there, ‘Midnight Rendezvous’ is more of a rocker with Ms Kane enjoying spitting out the lyrics in fiery fashion.
Album closer ‘Dead End Street’ ends on a more laid back kind of feel, loping easily along in an AOR groove with more saxophone arriving as it ends, to just tweak the sound away from expectations.
This album is aimed at a particular market and unlike Chez herself, I am old enough to remember the albums that inspired these tunes.
The strength of the song writing here and the quality of the lead vocals are actually much better than most of the stuff released by the artists they are name checking, to me.
If an eighties AOR Hard Rock vibe with a strong female vocal sounds like your idea of a good time, then this album is exactly where you need to be.
Time machine no longer required.